Symphony Silicon Valley is doing, as I’m sure you’ve read here before, Verdi’s Requiem. But it’s more than that. Really.

After we tune the conductor walks out to take his bow. Then we wait. For a rather long time. In total silence. The lights are down lower than usual. We have been instructed to sit completely still, heads bowed.

After a time you see them. Slowly and carefully eight men, dressed all in black, carry a casket out on stage. They then open the casket and a light from above shines down on it. You can see the body—a beautiful, 20-ish woman, dressed all in white lace, holding one single rose—inside. (Yes, they are using a real person!)

The audience does a little gasp (they aren’t expecting such a thing).

The light above then dims as the casket is quietly and carefully closed.

Then we play.

For about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Then, at the end … when the choir is singing “libera me” … an even brighter light than prior to the start of the orchestra’s performance shines down again on the casket. The casket is then opened by the tenor and bass who were soloing. The body, somewhat magically, rises out (it’s amazing what one can do these days with wires that are invisible to the audience) … and it is as if the body is going up into heaven. The body goes all the way up to where the audience can no longer see it.

You know how it is. These days people need visuals. So we’ve added this for the audience.

We are nice that way. 😉

For more on this performance just go here.


  1. You can’t possibly imagine just how relieved I was by … well, you know.


  2. Patricia Mitchell

    Yes, I DO know!

    Now what would Sandow think? I’m guessing he’d be disappointed to get to the punch line? Or maybe this is over the line for even him? (I kind of doubt it.)

    But of course that was my point; some people think this would be GOOD. I find that frightening.

    We played a piece that featured flute with the old San Jose Symphony (RIP) once and the conductor at the time wanted the flutist to float down from above. WHILE playing flute. That was nixed so, instead, she had to slowly walk on stage while playing. (The conductor also had to have a look-see at her gowns and decide which was best. He was quite the bizarre guy.)

    Anyway, glad you didn’t have a heart attack!

    (Did you believe me for a time, though?)

  3. I read a quote a while ago, relating to the Verdi Requiem. I can’t remember where it’s from. I have it in my music journal under “Verdi Requiem Mantra”:

    “Remember: someone is hearing this for the first time, (and) someone is hearing this for the last time.”

    I think that’s a powerful statement that can apply to any musical performance.

  4. Patricia Mitchell

    Oooh … great quote! I’d love to know who said it.

  5. Patricia wrote: “Did you believe me for a time, though?”

    You bet I did, and I clicked over to the “more here” ready to snag the link, and copy some choice quotes from the article for inclusion in a scathing post on Sounds & Fury that I’d already begun writing in my head as I clicked over. And, yes, what you described is right up Sandow’s squalid alley.


  6. Patricia Mitchell

    And you see, this is what’s so scary to me: that what I wrote IS believeable. Sigh.

    I think I’d leave before doing this sort of concert … I HOPE I’d leave before doing this sort of concert … and yet I have to earn a living.

    Ah well. At least I was making this one up, but just wait, it’s bound to happen sometime.

  7. I confess, you completely suckered me on that one! The only part I found hard to swallow was your apparent enthusiasm for the show. DUH!

    good one!

  8. Patricia Mitchell

    Hah! I love hearing that some readers believed me … but yes, I should probably have been upset over it if I was to be fully believed, as most people who read this know where I stand on this sort of thing.

    Next year …! 😉